Imitation of Life: Two-Movie Special Edition

Imitation of Life: Two-Movie Special Edition

4.3 13
Director: Douglas Sirk

Cast: Douglas Sirk, John M. Stahl, Claudette Colbert, Lana Turner

The first of two film version of Fannie Hurst's novel, 1934's Imitation of Life chronicles the friendship between two women--one white (Claudette Colbert), one black (Louise Beavers). Colbert is a widow with a baby daughter who hires Beavers, who also has a


The first of two film version of Fannie Hurst's novel, 1934's Imitation of Life chronicles the friendship between two women--one white (Claudette Colbert), one black (Louise Beavers). Colbert is a widow with a baby daughter who hires Beavers, who also has a daughter, as a housekeeper. Colbert is a working girl who yearns to operate her own business, which she does thanks to Beavers' special pancake recipe. A family friend (Ned Sparks) suggests that the ladies form a corporation to merchandise the "Aunt Delilah" pancake mix, and within ten years both women are quite wealthy. Colbert's relationship with her teenaged daughter (Rochelle Hudson) is strained when both ladies vie for the attentions of the same man, but these problems are minor compared to the travails of Beavers, who not only must deal with the De Facto segregation of the 1930s but must also contend with her restless daughter (Fredi Washington), who resents being an African-American and attempts to pass for white. The heartbroken Beavers dies, and at her funeral her now-chastened daughter weeps out her apologies for turning her back on her mother. Imitation of Life was remade in 1959, its story glamorized and updated to accommodate star Lana Turner.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
The great director Douglas Sirk's Imitation of Life, a spectacular, sprawling melodrama, follows a widowed aspiring actress (Lana Turner) and a homeless single mother (Juanita Moore) who raise their daughters together. While the actress's rise to Broadway stardom at the cost of true love gives the first half of the film a romantic arc, the relationship between the two mothers -- one white, one black -- gradually takes center stage. Sirk never compromises the integrity of the genre, steadfastly crafting archetypes instead of stereotypes while avoiding overt allegory or satire. This earnest sophistication gives Imitation of Life a weight that transcends social commentary. Turner's performance is pivotal, a grandiose portrayal of ambition and desire that fuels the story while contrasting brilliantly with Moore's austerity. Based on a bestselling novel by Fannie Hurst, Sirk's film was the second adaptation of the book, and it strays much farther from the source material than the more straightforward 1934 screen version. They truly don't make movies like this anymore; Imitation of Life stands as Sirk's masterpiece and perhaps the greatest Hollywood melodrama ever made.

Product Details

Release Date:
Universal Studios
Region Code:

Special Features

Lasting Legacy - An Imitation of Life: Academy award nominee Juanita Moore and respected historians reflect upon the making of the films and examine the enduring themes of race, family and identity in this retrospective documentary; 1934 feature commentary with African-American cultural scholar Avery Clayton; 1959 commentary with film historian Foster Hirsch; Original trailers

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Imitation of Life (1934)
1. "I Want My Quack Quack" (Main Titles) [6:36]
2. Room & Board [5:50]
3. Special Secret Recipe [5:59]
4. Aunt Delilah's Pancake Shop [5:24]
5. Paid in Full [4:46]
6. One Hundred Thousand Dollar Idea [7:53]
7. On Easy Street [6:14]
8. Meet the Pancake Queen [6:10]
9. No Time for Romance [5:00]
10. Go Amongst Your Own [4:31]
11. Let's Be Married [1:53]
12. All Grown Up [5:06]
13. Disowned Family [5:46]
14. Silly Child [9:13]
15. Delilah's Not Well [7:18]
16. Keep Control [5:32]
17. "Where's My Baby?" [4:42]
18. Family Comes First (End Titles) [7:32]
Disc #2 -- Imitation of Life (1959)
1. Main Titles [2:15]
2. Two Mothers [12:13]
3. Steve Archer [5:33]
4. The Agent [7:49]
5. Everything's Wrong [4:15]
6. Sarah Jane's Shame [4:08]
7. Big News [7:23]
8. The Audition [2:33]
9. A Star Is Born [8:07]
10. The New Home [3:54]
11. An Old and Dear Friend [10:20]
12. Sarah Jane's Secret [3:58]
13. To Be Different [4:37]
14. The Boyfriend [9:59]
15. "Respectable" Job [6:11]
16. Looking for Sarah Jane [9:57]
17. In Love With Steve [9:18]
18. Annie's Last Wishes [5:19]
19. The Funeral [6:01]
20. End Titles [:28]

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Imitation of Life: Two Movie Collection 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I own this dvd and i love the 1934 version with claudette colbert and louise beavers. The movie is about claudette colbert who is a widow and is left financially supporting herself and taking care of the business her husband left behind which is making syrup. She has a young daughter who eventually grows up and goes off to college. She meets Louise Beavers who has a recipe for making pancakes and together they join to start a business. Louis Beavers has a young daughter as well and her daughter grows up ashamed of being black. She doesn't accept her heritage because she has a very fair skin complexion . Louise Beavers and her daughter struggle with race and acceptance and love. Claudette Colbert and her daughter also go through tribulations and to sum it all up , they all begin to learn acceptance, love, and realize what's really important in life.
metfan More than 1 year ago
These two soap operas are typical women's pictures of their times.They are both glossy,well-made tearjerkers.John M.Stahl's classic 1934 original is much the better movie,with fine direction,a well-written
script,and excellent performances(Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers are marvelous!).But Douglas Sirk's 1959 Technicolor remake,which changes the story(Turner is an actress,not a businesswoman),is good in its own way.It looks good in gorgeous photography,has a good cast(Turner and Moore are excellent),and features a lovely Frank Skinner score.These movies are both good fun.
ONYX68 More than 1 year ago
who ever purchase this dvd will be glued to the set until the end . i have to say i enjoyed lana turner edition much more than the first but it was a great deal on recieving both for the price of one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was absolutely glued to the television during the whole movie. I viewed the 1934 version. It was an absolute amazing movie about motherhood, friendship, the times, loyalty, and struggle. The women were awe-inspiring - and beautiful in heart. There's so much to talk about with this movie - it's a must-see! - and actually should be seen in schools across the world. There are so many topics to discuss - it brings you down to reality - what's important - what life is all about - it's an absolute amazing movie that will make you cry like you've never cried before.
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